Every year, about two million seniors go to a skilled nursing facility following a hospitalization. But deciding which one to go to can be a daunting task. At the most, a few days are given to decide on a rehab facility or nursing home. Furthermore, the lists that patients are given usually lack critical details. Between the stress and confusion hospital stays place on families, patients often end up choosing a less than optimal placement. While at such a vulnerable point in their care, careful consideration should be taken. There are several things people should consider before jumping into a skilled nursing facility.

According to this article, about 84 percent of MediCare beneficiaries who go to a skilled nursing facility could have chosen a more optimal one. Usually even within a 15 mile radius. This suggests that the guidance given to patients and families upon hospital discharge is not thorough, to say the least. In addition, quality among skilled nursing facilities varies greatly. This is why it is crucial to ask questions prior to committing to a specific facility. It would also be helpful to have an Aging Life Care Specialist like Arizona Elder Care advocate for you. Or to at least help you choose the best option.

Knowing what your needs are following hospitalization is key. Do you need daily speech or occupational therapy? Or do you need 24/7 nursing care? Then find out if the facility can provide that. Another good detail to pay attention to is if doctors are onsite. Recent data has shown that 10 percent of patients in skilled nursing facilities have never been seen by a doctor or physician assistant.

Starting the planning process early is key. Seek out a discharge planner early on in your hospital stay. Ask for their opinion, rather than just a list of options. But be aware that doctors typically don’t know which skilled nursing facility will be the best fit for their patient. Therefore, consider taking time to call facilities directly and ask questions. Hospitalizations bring patients and families huge amounts of stress, concern, and confusion. But know that you always have the right to take some time and do your research.